February 2012

I just returned from celebrating my 28th birthday in Oahu…five days of beach, drinks and adventure! When booking the trip, the boy and I had to decide between staying in Waikiki or the North Shore. Waikiki is noted for restaurants, shopping, nightlife and most of all, tourists. We picked the North Shore because it’s more remote; our resort is the only place to stay in the area, so there are less people and more landscape, which is what I really wanted in a Hawaiian vacation!

So first, the food. Being in a more remote area definitely had its advantages, but food wasn’t always one of them. The first morning, two young stoner surfers working at the hotel recommended Tita’s Grill for breakfast. The boy loved his Portuguese sausage breakfast sandwich, but my french toast was literally swimming in butter. Eh…no thanks. That same day, we picked up soy milk and bananas (the boy brought a box of Kashi cereal in his luggage), and we ate breakfast on our balcony for the rest of the trip. Honestly? It was delicious (with a beautiful view to boot!).

I was surprised to not see more sushi, but there was lots of fresh fish on every menu. I ate ahi tuna literally every other day! Not surprisingly, the fish dishes were all among the best meals eaten on the island, including spicy tuna rolls at Nobu (in Waikiki of course), Cajun seared tuna, and macadamia nut crusted mahi mahi.

We also indulged with lots of fun drinks, including my all time favorite vacation order, the pina colada. Seriously, no warm weather trip is complete without one. Every drink in Hawaii gets a pineapple slice and umbrella!

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the pina colada was one-upped by a drink from the Hang Ten bar at our hotel. I first ordered a Monkey’s Lunch to enjoy during a late night hot tub soak (side note, I really want a hot tub one day!). It was so good, I had to get it again to sip during a relaxing afternoon on the beach. This drink was made with Bailey’s, Kahlua and fresh bananas, and tasted just like a boozy chocolate banana milkshake.

On my actual birthday, we went to the beach in the morning (the boy surfed while I read), and then we went to a decently-reviewed brunch spot in Haleiwa. The place looked a little rundown on the inside, but you could bring in champagne from the store next door to make your own mimosas and the breakfast potatoes were excellent.

Here’s my potato spread, along with an egg and cheese English muffin sandwich with avocado, sprouts and tomato.

Our particular spot on the island was incredibly windy, so every day we ventured out to explore Oahu. On my birthday though, we came back to the resort for a low-key afternoon and dinner at the hotel. For some reason, half the places in Haleiwa are closed on Sundays! We relied on Yelp a lot during this trip, and most of the top-reviewed places — and even the ubiquitous nice restaurant in our hotel — were shut down for the night. We ended up taking a chance on the Italian place but the food wasn’t very good. We ordered margarita pizza and pasta with vodka sauce, two dishes that have tasted significantly better coming out of my own kitchen.  Even better, the boy tried to arrange a special candle-lit slice of chocolate cake at the end of the meal and the restaurant totally dropped the ball…bringing the bill, but no dessert!

But the cake mishap was completely turned around by do-it-yourself s’mores outside by the bar. Such a delicious birthday treat! We shared the fire pit with another family, and I think we made the kiddos very jealous.

The best dessert of the trip though was from Bubbies. Everyone claims shave ice king in Hawaii, but I’m more of an ice cream girl myself. I tried to keep it authentic by ordering a macadamia nut cone, but the boy beat me out with his mochi order. The ice cream was so delicious, with big pieces of macadamia nut. We were both fans! However, the boy checked Yelp for mochi suggestions and ended up with flavors like lychee and green tea, which he didn’t enjoy. Lucky for me, because I loved them!

We loved Bubbies so much that we went back for round two. I seriously can’t get the green tea mochi out of my head. So cold, creamy, and chewy all at the same time.

On our last full day in Hawaii, we ended up on a series of adventures with a lunch stop in Kailua. We were both incredibly hungry by the time we found someplace to eat, but we still went to the place with the longest line because a crowd is a sure sign of good food, right? The service was slow, but the Nutella/banana/strawberry crepe made up it.

Overall, the food in the North Shore area was hit-or-miss. We had an equal number of pretty good and entirely forgettable meals. I didn’t eat any red meat or chicken on the trip, which absolutely limited my choices, so maybe I missed out on some excellent dishes? Hands down, our best meal was at Nobu in Waikiki, where good restaurants seemed a dime a dozen. But even with more diverse food options on the southern end of the island, I’d still pick our locale every time. I’ll be back later with more on our adventures…think sand, snorkel and a little rock climbing in the mix…!


I’m back! I just spent the last four days in New York for work; well, more specifically — for fashion week. Even though I set up the nail teams for five shows, I only went to two. Still, my days were pretty packed. Each show lasts only 10 minutes, but call time is at least 3 hours in advance. You’d think that would be plenty of time, but it literally flies by. Three hours for 20+ girls to go through hair, makeup and nails is just barely enough!

At the Rebecca Taylor show, the girls wore a gorgeous navy blue shade that I loved. I get to spend most of my time backstage snapping pictures. Everyone is so used to being photographed, the girls never mind stopping to smile or pose for the camera!

At Herve Leger, the nail look was pale and pink — almost flesh toned. For my purposes, this color is boring, but the show itself was really fun. Think Herve Leger’s signature bandage dress plus lots of dominatrix-style leather and bondage.

See? Not just a lovely pink, sparkly dress, but one waiting to be covered in an intense leather corset. In my opinion, not a very wearable look, but the models rocked it.

My orange wristband let me move around from backstage, to wardrobe, to run through and finally the show. The girls took a quick lap in street clothes but super high heels before the doors officially opened.

I’d imagine it can be very hard to be a successful working model. But what a fun job! Other NY highlights include: seeing my sister, mom and dad; viewing my one (and only) snowfall of the winter; eating good food. My favorite bites of the trip were toasted walnut raisin bread and brie with Hannah and goat cheese and chive gnocchi with my mom. Both delicious!

I’m headed out again tomorrow, this time to someplace warm, sandy and sunny. SQUEAL!

Tofu scramble made it to the menu! I’ve actually never cooked this before, but it turned out pretty well. The tofu was not the usual kind I buy and it crumbled pretty easily, but that worked perfectly for last night’s dinner. Into the wok went tofu, the mushrooms I forgot about on Monday, sweet potato, soy sauce and ginger. I also cooked vegetable egg rolls as a side. I love one-pot, quick meals!

And because this picture is too cute to keep to myself, here’s a shot of sweet Julia. I returned her winter coat before heading home for dinner, and we ended up grabbing a drink at Bodega. The photos of the two of us were terrible (sorry to everyone sitting behind us for suffering through 10 rounds of blinding flash!) but the conversation was great as always.Yes, I’m a sap, I know, but we’ve both been really busy lately so it was especially nice to catch up last night.

Speaking of being busy, I’m off to New York tomorrow for fashion week. Even more exciting, I’ve managed to work some family time into the schedule. I can’t wait!

At least once every two weeks in my house, we eat Thai noodle surprise. If you couldn’t guess from the name, every bowl contains rice noodles (and tofu), plus whatever else is sitting in the fridge. Last night’s wok included broccoli, shredded carrots and green pepper. I had a whole package of mushrooms but forgot to add them to the mix! Sauce changes every time too; this sauce was peanut satay, sesame oil, chili garlic paste and ginger.

The best part about Thai noodle surprise is how quickly it cooks! Boil water, chop veggies, heat tofu, cook noodles, add veggies, mix sauce, voila. Unfortunately Trader Joe’s only had the massive tofu blocks in stock so we are eating it again tonight…I’m thinking tofu scramble this time around?